Last Saturday Kate and I stood together, hand in hand, patiently waiting at the arrivals gate at Perth International Airport.
As each new face appeared around the corner, we both exhaled.
No. It wasn’t them.
We were waiting for Tony’s parents. They had been away for five weeks. Travelling the world. Visiting the most amazing places.
It had been a very long five weeks for three year old Katie, who absolutely adores her Grandma and Grandpa. As we waited, I sent out a silent request to the Universe to hurry them along please. I could feel Kate’s impatience building as I held her little hand in mine.
Ok … where have you hidden my Grandma & Grandpa?
Another person came into view. A lady. Pushing her heavy trolley. Again, Kate and I both exhaled together. It wasn’t Grandma.
This time though, I watched as the lady scanned the crowd for someone familiar. Her face lit up and she whooped with joy as she saw who she was looking for. Her daughter and son-in-law, perhaps? And her grandchildren? They all rushed forward to engulf her in their united, loving embrace.
It was then that I unravelled. Seriously. I kid you not. Watching that beautiful reunion stirred up huge emotion in me. It bubbled up uncontrollably into my throat. My bottom lip trembled. My eyes welled with tears and threatened to spill down my cheeks.
What the hell? Pull yourself together woman.
This is pathetic. Get a freakin’ grip!
I felt Kate’s little body go tense as two more people appeared around the corner. Another Grandma and Grandpa. Just not hers.
Again, I watched them scan the crowd for someone familiar. I smacked my hand over my mouth this time, as a little girl rushed towards them. She was maybe six or seven years old, and she was disabled. I suspect she was partially sighted, and she had something wrong with one of her legs. Neither of those things was a problem for her though, as she broke away from her Mum, and flew towards her Gran and Grandad. And I mean, she flew to them. The joy on their faces was priceless. Priceless.
I heard a weird, muffled, strangled noise and realised it was me making it. I couldn’t control the tears. They beat a hasty path down my cheeks. How embarrassing.
Thankfully Kate, and everyone else around me, was far too busy watching the latest batch of arrivals to pay any attention to what I was doing. I put my head down and began a very determined fossick in my bag for a tissue.
All hail Kleenex … my saviour.
Image credit: www.kleenex.com.au
That’s when my phone rang.
A legitimate distraction.
Yeayyy oh yeayyy!
It was Tony. Checking to see if they’d made it through yet, and to let me know that he’d just parked the car. Should he come in, or wait outside?
I could barely speak. I was so choked up. I garbled something nonsensical about this not being a very good place for me to hang out. I told him I was a wreck and that I really hoped they weren’t much longer. I couldn’t take much more.
He laughed at me. I must have sounded ridiculous. I would have laughed at me too.
More people filtered through. I looked away when I realised they weren’t familiar. It was safer that way.
Kate looked up at me. Her gorgeous little face was full of impatience. I squeezed her hand and promised her they’d be here soon.
I looked around behind me. The crowd was still thick. There was clearly a lot more people to come.
I looked ahead of me. More heavily laden trolleys. More unfamiliar faces.
I looked down at Kate again. More impatience. Her eyes were pleading with me, “Where are they Mummy?”
And then, there they were. As if by magic, they appeared around the corner. Kate ripped her hand from mine, and I watched as she flew as fast as her little legs would carry her, straight into her Grandma’s arms. She really did fly, I swear.
And yes, I cried.
Justifiably so, too.
The whole experience was unbelievably harrowing for me. So much so that I’ve decided the next time there’s an International Airport pick up on the cards, I’ll be the one parking the car and Tony can do the honours at the arrivals gate. He’ll be much better at keeping his shite together than I am.
Has this ever happened to you?
Please tell me I’m not the only one who unravels at the arrivals gate.
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